Inside Out 2 – Review


Inside Out 2 is the sequel to Pixar’s 2015 movie, Inside Out- which I’m assuming most people reading this review have read since it made a ton of money in the box office at the time. In case you don’t want to go back and read my review for the previous film, I really liked it! It was creative, imaginative, and the casting was good too. But when I watched it, I never thought, ‘this is something that needs a sequel’… maybe a couple of shorts, but not a sequel! In fact, we got that when Pixar made the short ‘Riley’s First Date’. Not a bad short, but not particularly good, either.

But Pixar really likes doing sequels to pad out the catalogue while they work on original ideas, and I certainly feel this is the case with Inside Out 2. I think it’s interesting that while they kept the original cast, they changed the director, this time it’s Kelsey Mann (he wrote for The Good Dinosaur and some Pixar shorts) instead of Pete Docter.

I’m kind of wondering if Disney thinks that this film will succeed on name value alone, because I have seen next to no marketing. It obviously worked in the few days before I went to see the film as it was reported that the movie had been a high grossing movie and was set to be one of the biggest box office draws of 2024 so far.

If you recall the Puberty Button from the end of the first movie, this sequel’s plot basically deals with that. We get four new emotions, Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Houser), who are now all causing havoc with Riley’s emotions at a weekend away on an ice hockey camp. With Anxiety thinking the emotions Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger are interfering with her plan, she sends them away whilst retrieving Riley’s sense of self. If that sounds a lot like the last movie, don’t be too surprised- I get a sense that the instructions for this movie were to play it safe.

That’s not to say it’s bad, in fact I thought it was quite good and there’s a sequence in particular towards the end of the movie that was really well handled- but I do feel like it’s a film that isn’t trying anything as bold or as interesting as the first movie. In fact, it borrows so much from the first that apart from the emotions, there isn’t much of anything new here. Even then, a couple of them feel a bit sidelined- Envy doesn’t get much to do in this movie and Ennui is just there for ‘don’t care about the world’ teenager gags. This is really centred around Anxiety, so it’s good that Maya Hawke is very good in the role, which is great considering this is her first voice acting role.

The returning cast are as good as ever, top props to Amy Poehler as Joy and Lewis Black as Anger- although I will say that in his case I get a sense that the volume button was turned down with him.

The biggest thing I was thinking of in this movie was that this was kind of a vague premise to work with, and that there was perhaps a bolder movie in here somewhere that got scrapped at the last minute. If anything, it feels like a video game that has downloadable content added to it: here’s a bunch of ideas that we had for the original Inside Out that we’re now going to cram into this one. I also didn’t like that the beginning of the film relies on some of the characters kind of regressing from their arcs in the first movie.

That being said, with Anxiety being the slightly antagonistic force in this really glues the movie together. I will say that the designs of the characters are excellent, too. The new characters get really good designs and Embarrassment was a good one in particular. In terms of animation, this looks great, especially considering there were a few sequences where the team was able to be slightly more experimental.

Despite the fact that a few things are repeated, the jokes are fresh and new. But one of the jokes that was repeated was that stupid gum advert jingle that is now stuck in my head again!

I’m making it sound like I didn’t like this movie, and I did! Just not as much as the first. I’ll say Inside Out 2 is a fine movie, but for lack of a better term, it feels more corporate than the first one. Obviously, all movies on some level fall under this umbrella, especially when made by massive studios- but the best films do a good job at distracting you from it, and I don’t think Inside Out 2 did that for me. But there are a ton of good ideas, the voice acting is great, but it feels like a carbon copy of the first one. I personally liked it, but I would not sing this one’s praises too much.
Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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